The Bulletin Interviews Alumnus Nopenyo Dabla

Interview by Arivaldo de Souza

Mr. Dabla is from Togo and decided to move to Germany in order to pursue a Public Policy Master Program at the Brandt School, one of the few programs of this kind in the nation. Before joining the Brandt School, Mr. Dabla got a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. After considering other options across Europe, Nopenyo’s chose to move to Germany because the program was taught fully in English and the city of Erfurt has a low cost of living.

During his two years in Brandt School (2012-2014), he specialized in International Affairs and International Political Economy. One month after his graduation, he started interning at the Bonn-based World Wind Energy Association, after he moved to Mali to assume a position as Renewable Energy Project Officer at Mali-Folkecenter Nyetaa. Currently, he works at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in Abu Dhabi, as a member of the Sub-Saharan Africa team within the Country Support and Partnerships Division.

The Bulletin: How did the Brandt School contribute to your professional life?

Nopenyo Dabla: I am very grateful for having attended an impact evaluation class during my second semester of studies. This class helped me not only to broaden my understanding in the field, but it was also very useful in my daily job activities.

Could you describe the activities that you currently perform in your position at IRENA?

As part of the Sub-Saharan Africa regional team, there are quite a lot of topics that come my way as my team represents the interface between the Agency and African countries. Most of my work consists of engaging directly with countries on an institutional level (e.g. in performing the so-called Renewables Readiness Assessments for countries, where we evaluate the readiness of specific countries in terms of institutional, policy and regulatory frameworks and come up with recommendations to be followed-up and implemented by the countries in collaboration with international development partners, including IRENA), and on a regional level, through our partnerships with regional bodies in the implementation of activities of regional significance, such as capacity building and the promotion of enabling regional frameworks to attract investments in the regions.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining the Brandt School community?

Come and use your time to increase your network, to expand your knowledge on your professional interests and to explore the ways of developing your career.

What would you highly recommend for the current Brandt School students?

Don´t forget that you are not going to be a director right after the completion of your studies. Also, keep in mind what you want to do after your time at the Brandt School; this decision should guide your choice of internships, courses and master thesis topic. Regarding internships, look for thematic-relevant internships, rather than only internships at large organizations. Small organizations may also help you to achieve your goals, as long as they fit to your field of interest, as you can expand your network in the desired field. Regarding the master thesis, be specific as you will have lots of work.

Follow Arivaldo Santos de Souza:

Arivaldo de Souza was trained as a lawyer and a legal researcher in both Brazil and the USA. After holding appointments in the non-profit sector, academia/think tank and government in Argentina, Brazil and the USA, de Souza joined the Brandt School as Master of Public Policy student. He is specializing in European Public Policy and International Affairs and contributes to "The Bulletin" as an editor for the Alumni and Career and Policy Analysis categories.